Asbestos regulations may have changed over the last 20 years but many homes that are on the market were actually built during these times and can contain asbestos. Many realtors will know if the home has ever been tested and knowing this in advance can save you some money in the negotiation process. Most homes that have been newly renovated may have had the asbestos covered up or removed. This is important to know, For example, did you know that approximately one third of homes built in North America between the 50’s-70’s contain some kind of asbestos containing material products? Asbestos containing materials were however used up to 1986 and possibly later. Any buildings built prior to 1990 should be tested prior to any renovations or demolition.
Make sure that the walls and roof are in good condition, most information says that if the building materials containing asbestos are intact, sealed, undisturbed and undamaged, then it is safe. However, if there is cracking, damage or anything that could lead to the asbestos particles being released, then this is when it can become a health risk.
You won’t know if a building contains asbestos just by looking at it; it needs to be tested. If you do your due diligence and get a building inspection report done on a property you want to buy, laboratory analysis will verify or rule out asbestos or any other indoor health concerns like mold, but it’s worth checking with the property inspector you use to make sure they can specifically test for asbestos. Use a trusted contractor that carries pollution liability insurance as well as general liability, check out reviews, look them up with credited associations like the BBB.
Before doing anything you need to check the law in your province, if you can’t seem to find any information concerning the issues you are having, consider asking your home inspector. It’s also recommended that you don’t try to remove it yourself. DIY asbestos removal can go horribly wrong and affect the health of you, your family and your neighbours, so the safest way to manage the removal of asbestos is to hire a licensed asbestos removal contractor who can also organize for its safe disposal and burial once removed.
Ultimately, how you deal with asbestos is important but dealing with it is possible. So if you’ve found the house of your dreams asbestos doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Just make sure you:
- Find out if the property has asbestos, how widespread and in what condition.
- If it’s in good condition you might not need to take any action, except painting it occasionally and checking it regularly for signs of wear and tear.
- If it’s not intact, you should find out what the cost will be to remove or repair it, and factor that into any offer you make to buy the property.
- If you also plan to renovate, you’ll need to find out if your renovations will disturb the asbestos as this could add greater cost and time to your remodelling.